Genocide Awareness



Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month - Why April? 

The 20th Century is often referred to as the “Century of Genocide.” Unfortunately, this trend has continued into the 21st Century. Many of these genocides either began in April or include significant events which occurred in April.

The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center encourages students to raise awareness about these genocides and remember those who were lost as a result of “man’s inhumanity to man.” To this end, we  sponsor a special annual student contest.

HHREC 2022 Student Contest Awards

We are very pleased to announce this year's winning students for their entries in our third annual Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month Student Contest! We received a total of 70 projects that were submitted by students from eight schools, including 3 from outside the Westchester County, NY area – Rotolo Middle School in Illinois, Greenwich High School in Connecticut and South Kamloops Secondary School in British Columbia, Canada, along with Byram Hills High School, Horace Greeley High School, New Rochelle High School, Somers High School and Valhalla High School from Westchester County.

The HHREC 2022 Genocide Awareness Month Student Contest Winners

Greenwich High School 9th Grade Student Award Winners Lorenzo Pugliese, Benjamin Adovasio, Maya Antipov
Photo credits: Courtney Hawes, Kathleen Mendez, Innovation Lab Humanities Teachers, Greenwich High School

Grades 7 & 8

First Place: William Hampson – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art, “Targeted” meant to represent the innocent people targeted during the Cambodian Genocide

Second Place: Charlotte Johansen – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art, “The Pink Triangle” depicting the LGBTQ community targeted by Hitler during the Holocaust

Third Place: Kaia Olberg – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art and Poem,” Holodomor: We Will Remember” depicting the Ukrainian Famine of the 1930s

Honorable Mention:

Jane Lishamer – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia Illinois
Original Art, “1.5 Million” memorializing the Cambodians killed by Pol Pot in the 1970s

Evan Bonnet – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Sculpture, “Persistence and Strength” of a hand symbolizing how the Tutsis reached out to the world for help during the Rwandan Genocide but none came.

Lily Enos – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois

Original Art, “The Pink List” using rainbow stripes and symbols to represent homosexuals killed during the Holocaust

Grade 9

First Place: Maya Antipov – Greenwich High School
Original Art, “Left Behind” commemorating the victims of the war in Syria

Second Place: Benjamin Adovasio – Greenwich High School
Original Art Display, “The Ukrainian Conflict Memorial” commemorating the current atrocities taking place in Ukraine

Third Place: Sasha Peterson – Greenwich High School
Original Art, “The Hidden Genocide” depicting the Rohingya minority targeted by the government of Myanmar

Honorable Mention:

Lorenzo Pugliese – Greenwich High School
The Uyghurs – Video depicting genocidal actions currently being taken by the Chinese government against this ethnic minority

Grade 10

First Place: Arianna Garcia – Byram Hills High School
Original Art, “The Price of Uyghur Labor” depicting the actions of the Chinese government again the Uyghurs

Second Place: Olivia Sherman – Somers High School
Original Art, “Auto-Genocide” memorializing the Victims of the Cambodian Genocide

Third Place: Tori Suarez – Somers High School
Original Art, “A Woman’s Perseverance” memorializing the women of Darfur, Sudan who have been victims of sexual assault and torture

Honorable Mention

Eileen Weisner – New Rochelle High School
Original Poem, “Is There a Choice” inspired by Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night

Jackson Forsberg – Somers High School
Original Poem, “It Should Not Be This Way” memorializing the victims of the Bosnian Genocide

Mia Vieira – Horace Greeley High School
Original Poem, “Preservation” commemorating the female victims of the Holocaust

Grades 11 & 12

First Place: Claire Nevin – South Kamloops High School – British Columbia, Canada
Original Art, “Hope and Despair” depicting the butterfly which was a meaningful symbol to the people impacted by the Srebrenica Massacre during the Bosnian Genocide

Second Place: Ash Bruce – South Kamloops High School – British Columbia, Canada
Original Painting, “We Were Children” depicting the ongoing indigenous genocide in Canada

Third Place: Carly Orozco – South Kamloops High School – British Columbia, Canada
Original Poem/Art Display, “Share the Stories As We Must Not Forget” commemorating the Holodomor

Honorable Mention:

Katie Chong – Valhalla High School
Original Poem, “Bashert” Meant to Be” documenting the life of a Holocaust survivor

Congratulations to our winners and to all the students and their teachers who so hard on their  projects this year, we are proud of all of you and appreciate the effort you gave in making this a very special program!

HHREC Student Contest Description:

Students are invited to create and submit an original project in visual arts, poetry, music, or other media of artistic expression that commemorates some aspect of a genocide which has occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries.

Examples include the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, the Bosnian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Genocide in Darfur, and many others. Please see World Without Genocide for a complete list.


HHREC donates on the winners’ behalf to the Afya Foundation, a Westchester-based organization. Afya provides an environmentally-sensitive, community-oriented solution to help address the critical shortage of medical supplies in underserved communities around the world. Currently, they are working in partnership with US-Ukraine-Foundation and others to support the Ukrainian medical community and refugees seeking aid. Afya’s Disaster Response Hub has been preparing wound care, surgical equipment, and biomedical equipment to medical providers to ensure they have the supplies they need to care for wounded soldiers and civilians.

We look forward to viewing your submissions next year and hope you continue to stay well during these uncertain times.

Questions about the contest should be submitted by email to Julie Scallero at


Genocide Awareness and Prevention Competition 

Past Winning Students 

Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month - History

The 20th Century is often referred to as the “Century of Genocide” and reporting indicated we are continuing this century, as this NY Times article about the recent prosecution and conviction of a former Syrian official of Crimes Against Humanity reveals.

According to NPR News:

April 1915

The Ottoman Turkish government began rounding up and murdering Armenian politicians and intellectuals. This was the first step in the extermination of more than a million Armenians.

April 1933
April 1975
April 1992
April 1994
April 2003
April 2011-18
April 2019
April 2020

10 Things You Can Do During Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month

Today, we continue to see evidence of crimes against humanity, including those that continue to occur in Ukraine, and we remain vigilant, as history has shown they are the foundations from which genocides have begun in the past.

  1. Practice being an Upstander: Sociologists report that people who rescued during the Holocaust often reported that altruistic actions were normal to their everyday lives.  Build this habit into your life by doing something kind for someone else during the month.  An act of kindness each day would be a honorable goal!
  2. Check with your local school or public library to discover what genocide resources are needed in its library and provide funding for one or two books.
  3. Attend the William H. Donat Shoah Commemoration April 27th at 7:00 p.m. at Iona College which will include a lecture by Dan McMillan, author of The Holocaust: Explaining How This Could Happen. Information and registration will be available at William H. Donat Shoah Commemoration.
  4. Learn more about the Rwandan Genocide. April 6 marks the 28th anniversary of the start of this event.  The Kigali Memorial Center offers documentation and survivor testimony of the genocide (Kigali Memorial Centre), and BBC offers an excellent overview of the events of the genocide.  You can also learn how the country is commemorating the genocide from this current article.
  5. Learn about the Genocide Prevention Task Force by visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Genocide Prevention
  6. Visit the Genocide Watch website to learn about Dr. Gregory Stanton’s framework for examining genocide, the “10 Stages of Genocide”, and the recommended preventative steps you can take to stop genocide early.
  7. Learn more about the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a relatively new doctrine that informs much of genocide prevention today on their website.
  8.  Find a legislative champion to support designating April as Genocide Awareness and Protection Month in New York. California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Ohio have designated April as Genocide Awareness Month.
  9. Listen to the personal histories of different genocides provided by the USC Shoah Foundation at Genocide Awareness Month.
  10. Support the work of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center by making a donation here.

News on Genocide History and War Crimes

ABC News 3/3/22 - Putin has been accused of committing war crimes. But could the International Criminal Court bring him to justice?

CNN 3/3/22 “Everything you need to know about war crimes and how Putin could be prosecuted” - Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN -
Updated 12:27 PM ET, Fri March 4, 2022

USA Today 4/6/20 - Days before 26th anniversary of country's genocide, Rwanda finds mass grave that could contain 30,000 bodies

New York Times 3/20/19 - Radovan Karadzic Sentenced to Life for Bosnian War Crimes

New York Times 4/8/18 - Burning Eyes, Foaming Mouths: Years of Suspected Chemical Attacks in Syria